WHEN comedian Al Murray turned up in Woodstock on Sunday it was not in his usual capacity.

The Pub Landlord, as he is better known as, was there for the opening of the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, which his dad, a trustee, has curated a display for.

Museum director Ursula Corcoran said Mr Murray had in the past supported the museum and that his father retired Lieut Col Ingram Murray,77, who served in the Parachute Squadron of Royal Engineers, was “a key volunteer”.

She said: “We were pleased he was able to make it. There were lots of visitors on the day, so that was great. We are hoping to attract lots of families and Al coming was good for generating some interest in the collection.”

Military Vehicle Trust member David Bayliss, 52, who was one of those who attended the opening, said: “It was a big surprise for everybody.

The Oxford Times:

  • The ribbon is cut with a sword by Marie-Jane Barrett, chairwoman of the Friends of SOFO with Colonel Tim May, left, and Mr Murray, whose father Ingram curated one of the displays

“He was very nice and showed people his Jeep. He is also very knowledgeable about the Second World War.”

Oxford Uiversity educated Mr Murray is a war historian in his own right and made a documentary, Al Murray’s Road to Berlin, about the Second World War that was broadcast on the Discovery Channel in 2004. The 46-year-old helped with the ribbon cutting at the building’s entrance.

Long Hanborough resident Mr Bayliss, attended the event dressed as a paratrooper with friend Brian Tegg, from Bicester, who posed as a Home Guard captain. Both are former servicemen with the Royal Air Force.

The museum opened its new £3.2m base by the Oxfordshire Museum, in Woodstock, on Sunday, with a performance from the Oxford Caledonian Pipe Band. Its collections span 3,500 objects and 7,500 archive items dating back to the late 1700s.

The Oxford Times:

  • Museum director Ursula Corcoran

It brings together military collections relating to the county, including those from the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, the Oxfordshire Yeomanry and The Rifles.

See sofo.org.uk

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